Tag: Death Cab for Cutie

New Video: Up-and-Coming British Singer-Songwriter Stealth Releases Behind-the-Scenes Video featuring The Dap Kings

Stealth is an up-and-coming Birmingham, UK-based singer/songwriter. Citing influences such as Howlin’ Wolf and Etta James, the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter specializes in an old school bluesy and soulful take on pop and soul.  His single “Judgement Day,” was a viral hit that has amassed over 10 million streams on Spotify and YouTube combined, landed on the charts in 12 different countries and appeared on an episode of USA Network’s Suits — and as a result, his EP The Intro, which featured the song landed at #2 on the iTunes UK singer/songwriter charts and #3 on the iTunes US charts. His sophomore EP, Verse, featured “Real Life,” a track that was featured on ABC’s The Catch and E’s The Royals — and the track was also featured in a Kia Stinger ad campaign throughout Europe. Adding to a growing profile, the Birmingham-based singer/songwriter has opened for the likes of Seinabo Say, Jamie Woon, Zella Day, Tiggs Da Author, Vaults, Kaleo and others. He also received frequent airplay across BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing — and was nominated for 3 Unsigned Music Awards before he signed to Ultra Music.

Since signing to Ultra Music as their first blues/soul/pop act, Stealth has continued to build upon a rapidly growing profile. His third EP, Chorus features “Gotta Stop Loving You,” a track with an accompanying Ryan Saradjola-directed video that has amassed over 1.5 million views on YouTube since its release; “Truth Is,” which was included on the official FIFA ’19 soundtrack alongside tracks from Barns Courtney, Billie Eilish, Broods, Childish Gambino, Death Cab For Cutie, Gorillaz, Logic and more.

Stealth’s latest single, the Stevie Wonder meets Fela Kuti and The Africa 70-like “Black Heart” finds the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter collaborating with the world famous funk and soul band The Dap Kings. Centered around a strutting bass line, a sultry horn line that only a few backing bands can provide, a twinkling organ line and Stealth’s soulful vocals, the track is full of bitter recriminations and accusations towards a deceitful lover — and by the end the song is a proud tell off to the same lover.

“‘Black Heart’ is all about noticing the little things a person does before they break up with you. They are saying one thing but their black heart says another,” Stealth says in press notes. “Had the pleasure recording this with the Dap Kings over in NYC and it was a dream come true. Obviously heard them on Back to Black and I’ve been a huge fan of Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones who they also recorded and played with. To have the opportunity to meet and record with these living legends was unbelievable.”

The recently released video features behind-the-scenes footage of the Birmingham-based singer/songwriter beginning with Stealth heading to Daptone Records’ House of Soul Studios in Bushwick, Brooklyn — and jamming and recording with the world famous Dap Kings. Now, as some of you know, I’ve actually been to House of Soul Studios and you can practically feel the spirts of Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones in and around the property. 

Advertisements

Stealth is an up-and-coming Birmingham, UK-based singer/songwriter. Citing influences such as Howlin’ Wolf and Etta James, the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter specializes in an old school bluesy take on pop and soul.  His single “Judgement Day,” was a viral hit that has amassed over 10 million streams on Spotify and YouTube combined, landed on the charts in 12 different countries and appeared on an episode of USA Network’s Suits — and as a result, his EP The Intro, which featured the song landed at #2 on the iTunes UK singer/songwriter charts and #3 on the iTunes US charts. His sophomore EP, Verse, featured “Real Life,” a track that was featured on ABC’s The Catch and E’s The Royals — and the track was also featured in a Kia Stinger ad campaign throughout Europe. Adding to a growing profile, the Birmingham-based singer/songwriter has opened for the likes of Seinabo Say, Jamie Woon, Zella Day, Tiggs Da Author, Vaults, Kaleo and others. He also received frequent airplay across BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 6 and BBC Introducing — and was nominated for 3 Unsigned Music Awards before he signed to Ultra Music.

Since signing to Ultra Music as their first blues/soul/pop act, Stealth has continued to build upon a rapidly growing profile. His third EP, Chorus features “Gotta Stop Loving You,” a track with an accompanying Ryan Saradjola-directed video that has amassed over 1.5 million views on YouTube since its release; “Truth Is,” which was included on the official FIFA ’19 soundtrack alongside tracks from Barns Courtney, Billie Eilish, Broods, Childish Gambino, Death Cab For Cutie, Gorillaz, Logic and more.

Stealth’s latest single, the Stevie Wonder meets Fela Kuti and The Africa 70-like “Black Heart” finds the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter collaborating with the world famous funk and soul band The Dap Kings. Centered around a strutting bass line, a sultry horn line that only a few backing bands can provide, a twinkling organ line and Stealth’s soulful vocals, the track is full of bitter recriminations and accusations towards a deceitful lover — and by the end the song is a proud tell off to the same lover.

“‘Black Heart’ is all about noticing the little things a person does before they break up with you. They are saying one thing but their black heart says another,” Stealth says in press notes. “Had the pleasure recording this with the Dap Kings over in NYC and it was a dream come true. Obviously heard them on Back to Black and I’ve been a huge fan of Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones who they also recorded and played with. To have the opportunity to meet and record with these living legends was unbelievable.”

New Video: Introducing the Breezy Sounds and Striking Visuals of Fast Trains

Announced earlier this month with a series of animated video shorts featuring strange, alien-like beings making their way across Brutalist landscapes, secret messages and a coded language set to ethereal vocals warped beyond recognition, Fast Trains, the solo recording project of Portsmouth, UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Wells can actually trace its origins back to two years ago.  “I started writing the songs for Fast Trains just over two years ago. At that point, I was in a different band, and these songs just didn’t fit with what we were doing at the time,” Wells explains in press notes. “I loved the songs though and they’re deeply personal, so I couldn’t give up on them. Then at the start of 2018, I met Sam [Brandon] and everything snowballed. We hatched a crazy scheme to create an entire world based around these songs, with its own landscape, characters, even its own language. This led to ‘Measure by Measure.'” 

Referred to as ourWorld, this “virtual world” runs through everything within the Fast Trains universe, from cryptic social media posts to hidden messages deep within the music itself. And all of this is done with a DIY ethos and spirit with Wells playing almost every instrument and producing the music — with Brandon creating the animation himself, drawing everything frame-by-frame. This ensures that the project and its creative partners are as independent as humanly possible. As for the single, “Measure by Measure” is a breezy and infectious Death Cab for Cutie-like pop song centered around a shimmering and looped guitar line, wobbling and propulsive synths, twinkling keys and Wells’ ethereal vocals. But interesting, the song manages to be simultaneously radio friendly accessibility and adventurously forward-thinking.

The recently released video is a jaw-dropping visual delight and an awesome introduction to the entire world of Fast Trains — and with repeated views, there’s something that will capture your eyes. 

New Audio: Australia’s Hockey Dad Releases an Anthemic 90s Alt Rock Inspired Song

Comprised of Zach Stephenson (guitar, vocals) and Billy Fleming (drums), the Windang, New South Wales, Australia indie rock duo Hockey Dad are lifelong friends, who grew up two doors apart — and as a result, they’re best friends first, bandmates second. With the release of their full-length debut 2017’s Boronia, the duo of Stephenson and Fleming quickly achieved a national and international profile for crafting infectious power pop: the duo wound up embarking on a sold out tour of their native Australia that included a number of shows with Dune Rats and the critically applauded indie act Wavves, some extensive touring across North America with stops at SXSW and elsewhere, before touring across the UK and Europe. 

Hockey Dad’s latest effort, 2018’s sophomore effort, the John Goodmanson-produced Blend Inn was recorded at Seattle’s renowned Robert Lang Studios, where Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Death Cab For Cutie, Alice in Chains and NirvanaNirvana (who most notably recorded their last song ever there) all recorded seminal material. Interestingly, the Australian duo’s sophomore effort is a much more introspective effort. Blend Inn is the part of your head that you want to go to when you’re overseas and wishing you were back home, it’s within,” Hockey Dad’s Billy Fleming says. “We’re always just trying to be comfortable and semi blending in, so it’s the name we gave to that place you zone out to.”

Thematically, the album is centered around the trials, tribulations and uncertainties of young adulthood — but from the perspective of two young people, who have had an expanded mindset and much more experience in the world, while still retaining the playfulness and enormous hooks that won them international attention. Building upon a growing profile, the duo will continue a busy slate of national and international touring, including a West Coast Stateside tour through February. You can check out the tour dates below. 

In the meantime, anthemic album single “I Wanna Be Everybody” is centered around infectious, crowd pleasing hooks, thunderous drumming and even bigger power chords within an alternating soft, loud, soft song structure. Sonically, the song brings to mind 90s alt rock — in particular, I’m reminded of Local H and others.  

Live Footage: Acclaimed and Up-and-Coming Austrian Artist Inner Tongue Performs “2 Seconds”

Inner Tongue is the (mostly) solo recording project of a rather mysterious Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer and musician, who grew upon an intensely musical home — his father is a saxophonist, who constantly wrote songs, so musical instruments were always lying around and his parents frequently shared their favorite albums with him; in fact, Inner Tongue formed his first band when he was 6. “We started out using one of my dad’s synths to play a pre-programmed beat,” he recalls. “I’d sing something that sounded to us like English.” Unsurprisingly, the Austrian artist, who cites Bjork, Moby, Portishead, Micheal Jackson, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Pet Shop Boys, Aphex Twin, and The Cure’s The Cure In Orange as influences — although those influences don’t quite correspond to his own sound and songwriting approach continued playing and writing music, playing in a small number of bands, including one that had briefly worked with Duran Duran and David Bowie’s producer before getting dropped by their label. 

Interestingly, with the release of some of his earliest solo work, the Austrian artist quickly garnered comparisons to James Blake, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Death Cab for Cutie, Sohn, and Chet Faker/Nick Murphy. His quietly released yet critically applauded 2015 debut EP Tz Ka allowed him to open for the likes of Ghostpoet, Everything Everything and others. The Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer, and musician’s full-length debut Favours was released earlier this year, and interestingly, the album’s overall sound and thematic concern is inspired by a deeply personal yet remarkable story. Back in 2013, Inner Tongue was diagnosed with a rare vocal-cord disorder that was so severe that only a handful of specialists throughout the entire world were capable of treating it; but eventually his condition required surgery, which left him, for a time unable to talk. Understandably, the months that followed the surgery were emotionally and physically shattering but he began composing music again.  At the time, singing was out of the question and as the Austrian singer/songwriter, composer and musician says in press notes, “I decided to modify my musical focus temporarily by writing songs which could produce a melodic tension without vocals, but which featured the traits of forward-looking pop music. It was as if someone had pressed a resent button on the musical identity I had of myself.” Adds Inner Tongue, “I used to layer many sounds and melodies before, and felt like I hid the core of any idea behind that technique.”

Some of the Austrian artist’s full-length debut was made at home with most recorded in a friend’s stood in Vienna. Foals’ John Catlin, who collaborated with him on his 2015 debut EP assisted once again although his involvement varied throughout; however, as Inner Tongue says, Catlin “was continually involved as a producer and friend,” who also mixed the album with some further overdubbing where necessary. As the Austrian artist readily admits, the entire experience of writing and recording his full-length debut provoked ” “a lot of soul searching, trying to become a better mixing engineer and producer. I’m somewhat controlling when it comes to my music, and I need to get the little details right.”

However, unlike his debut EP, Favours was more of a collaborative effort, as he shared his ideas with a collective of very dear and close friends. “All contributions are built on a vision I initially had and then gain shape during the process,” Inner Thought says. His live backing band contributed much of the music with his father playing sax on “New York.” The live version of “2 Seconds,” Favours’ latest single features a sparse yet soulful arrangement centered around twinkling Rhodes piano keys and Inner Thought’s achingly tender vocals, which manage to express a plaintive, vulnerable need. It’s a delicate, sensitive yet incredibly sexy song that balances earnest emotion with deliberate attention to craft. 

Grant Goldsworthy is a Central Pennsylvania-based multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, who over the past 15 years has played with a number of bands across Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Boston and New York — and with his latest project, Snow Villain, which he started in 2015, Goldsworthy began collaborating with a rotating cast of musicians from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, PA and NYC. Although some have said that Snow Villain’s sound nods at Death Cab for Cutie, Smashing Pumpkins, St. Vincent, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Ween and Beck, the project’s latest single “Torches.” off the forthcoming EP 1 strikes me as nodding heavily at early Rage Against the Machine, as the song is centered around enormous power chords, rousingly anthemic hooks, and politically-charged lyrics delivered with a swaggering, hip-hop like flow.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Travel the World with Up-and-Coming Ukrainian Indie Rock Act and New JOVM Mainstays Indytronics

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Kiev, Ukraine-based indie rock/post punk band Indytronics. And as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of founding members Danil Bogadenko (guitar, vocals) and Vitaliy Koutsiuk (bass) with Ruslan Dobrov (drums) and Denys Rybchenko (guitar, backing vocals) can trace their origins to when its founding members were traveling across Europe, and while in Stockholm, Sweden, the duo came across a number of street musicians, who were playing music with an interesting and very melodic indie the rock. According to the members of the band, its founding duo were so impressed by Stockholm’s street musicians that decided that they needed to start their own band when they returned home. 

Since the band’s formation in 2012, the band has released their 2013 debut EP Vision and their 2015 full-length debut Scintilla Wave and and as a result, they’ve developed a growing profile both nationally and internationally as they’ve made a number of live appearances on several Ukrainian TV shows and have received regular radio rotation on Ukrainian Radio Roks, Europa Plus, HotMix Radio, WCSF Radio German CTdasradio and others. Along with that, they’ve been written up in the British music magazine Huck and their music has been used for fashion shows aired on the international TV channel IDFashion throughout the US, Ukraine, Italy, Austria and France. 

While “Savannah Only Temple” was slickly produced indie rock that may remind listeners of  Narrow Stairs-era Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service’s Give Up and Snow Patrol, thanks in part to a rousingly arena friendly hook, its follow-up “Shark” found the band pushing their sound more towards electronic rock but with some of their most ambitious songwriting they’ve released to date. Their latest single “Alien Sun” finds the band at their most atmospheric while retaining their arena friendly hooks — and although the song will further cement their growing reputation for crafting crowd pleasing Death Cab for Cutie/The Postal Service/Snow Patrol-like indie rock, bolstered by an uncanny self-assuredness and earnestness of purpose. 

As the band wrote to me, they have a dream of playing concerts across

Currently comprised of founding member Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Matt Geravis, Charity Rose Thielen (violin, guitar, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (keys) and Tyler Williams (drums), the Seattle, WA-based indie folk/indie rock act The Head and the Heart can trace their origins to a series of open mic nights at Ballard, WA-based Conor Byrne Pub back in 2009. At the time Russell, who had relocated from Richmond, VA and the band’s other founding member Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), who had relocated from Southern California were relatively recent transplants. Russell and Johnson met Hensley, who also was a relatively recent transplant, who had relocated the previous year to pursue film score writing. Thielen, was the next member to join, and she had recently returned from a year abroad studying in Paris. Williams had been a member of Richmond, VA-based band Prabir and The Substitutes, but after Russell sent him a demo of “Down In The Valley,” Williams quickly relocated to Seattle to join the new band. The last member of the original line, Zasche was a bartender at the Conor Byrne and was member of Seattle-based bands The Maldives and Grand Hallway. Interestingly enough, as Johnson explained the band’s name came from an relatable situation in which “Your head is telling you to be stable and find a good job, you know in your heart that this [the band] is what you’re supposed to do, even if it’s crazy.”

Since their formation the band has released three full-length albums — 2010’s self-titled and initially self-released debut (which later caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who re-issued it), 2013’s Let’s Be Still and 2016’s major label debut, Signs of Light with each record seeing greater attention and the band building a growing profile; they’ve opened for Vampire Weekend, The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Dave Matthews, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers among a lengthening list of acclaimed acts. Along with that, the band has seen quite a bit of critical and commercial success — their self-tiled debut reached #110 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks with  Let’s Be Still landed at #10 on the Billboard 200 and each album has been well received, to boot.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the summer, you may recall that I mentioned that this year may arguably be one of the bigger years in the band’s history, as they’ve played the historic Newport Folk Festival and Coachella, and are in the middle of an extensive tour that includes stops at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, Lollapalooza and Central Park SummerStage last night.

Tonight the band is taking part in an Audience Network Concert Special, which will air at 9:00 ET/PT on DIRECTV (Channel 239) and U-verse (Channel 1114) and DIRECTV Now, and  to build up buzz for the special, as well as to celebrate what has been a successful tour so far, the band has just released a gorgeous and fairly straightforward cover of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” one of my favorite Crowded House songs, and arguably one of the best songs of the 1980s; of course, there are subtle differences — The Head and the Heart rendition has a slightly folky twang, Charity Rose Thielen sings the song’s second verse, which adds a slightly different perspective; and the organ solo at the song’s bridge is truncated by a number of measures; but considering the band’s history, covering Crowded House’s breakthrough hit here in the States is fitting, as the song focuses on persisting in the face of all odds. More important, their cover should remind everyone that Neil Finn is an exceptionally gifted songwriter, who has written a handful of songs that have held up 30+ years after their initial release.

As I mentioned the band is in the middle of a lengthy tour, check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
9.22.17 – The Fillmore – Philadelphia, PA *
9.23.17 – Thompson’s Point – Portland, ME *
9.24.17 – Green at Shelburne Museum – South Burlington, VT *
9.26.17 – Massey Hall – Toronto, ON *
9.28.17 – Iroquois Amphitheater – Louisville, KY *
9.29.17 – Ascend Amphitheater – Nashville, TN *~
9.30.17 – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium – Asheville, NC *
10.1.17 – The National – Richmond, VA *
10.2.17 – Red Hat Amphitheater – Raleigh, NC *
10.4.17 – Alabama Theatre – Birmingham, AL *
10.5.17 – Coca Cola Roxy Theatre – Atlanta, GA *
10.8.17 – Austin City Limits – Austin, TX
10.10.17 – Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK *
10.11.17 – Orpheum Theatre – Memphis, TN *
10.12.17 – The Pageant – St. Louis, MO *
10.13.17 – The Blue Note Outdoors – Columbia, MO *
10.15.17 – Austin City Limits – Austin, TX
10.27.17 – The Anthem – Washington, D.C. *+
10.27 – 10.29.17 – Voodoo Music + Arts Experience – New Orleans, LA
1.31 – 2.4.18 – Hard Rock Hotel – Riviera Maya, MX

 

*w/ The Shelters
^w/ The Lone Bellow
~w/ Dr. Dog
+w/Phosphorescent

Perhaps best known as a founding member, vocalist, pianist and primary songwriter of Los Angeles, CA-based indie quintet Local Natives, an act that’s received attention nationally for a sound that has been compared favorably to the likes Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear, Kelcey Ayer steps out from behind the auspices of a band for his solo side project, Jaws of Love. Unsurprisingly, Ayer’s new project reportedly sees Ayer honing in on what he’s best known for — sparse yet emotive piano ballads, as highlighted on his primary gig’s critically applauded sophomore effort Hummingbird.

 

Tasha Sits Close to the Piano, Ayer’s Jews of Love. debut takes was named by Ayer’s wife, who named the album after the their dog, Tasha — and the album is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through House Arrest Records, and Ayer’s Jaws of Love. debut single, the eponymous “Jaws of Love,” begins with a spectral arrangement in which he accompanies his plaintive and aching vocals with a gorgeous and mournful pianos before turing into a moody, and ambient synth pop track seemingly inspired by Narrow Stairs-era Death Cab for Cutie, Postal Service and Brian Eno; but at its core is a sweetly swooning love song that reveals a visceral vulnerability as the song, much like the rest of the album’s material, focuses on love’s trials and tribulations, with the recognition that love may arguably be one of the more difficult, insane and absolutely necessary things in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Kiev Ukraine’s Indytronics Returns with a Rousingly Anthemic New Single

Last week, I wrote about the Kiev, Ukraine-based indie rock/post punk band Indytronics. Comprised of Danil Bogadenko (guitar, vocals), Vitaliy Koutsiuk (bass), Ruslan Dobrov (drums) and Denys Rybchenko (guitar, backing vocals), the Ukrainian quartet can trace their origins to when Bogadenko and Rybchenko were touring across Europe, and while in  Stockholm, Sweden the duo came across street musicians, who were playing an interesting melodic indie rock-leaning vibe. And as the story goes, the duo were so impressed by this particular group of street musicians that they decided that they needed to start their own band when they returned home to Kiev. 
Since the band’s formation in 2012, the band has released their 2013 debut EP Vision and their 2015 full-length debut Scintilla Wave and and as a result, they’ve developed a growing profile both nationally and internationally. They’ve made live appearances on several Ukrainian TV shows and have received regular radio rotation on Ukrainian Radio Roks, Europa Plus, HotMix Radio, WCSF Radio German CTdasradio and others. Along with that, they’ve been written up in the British music magazine Huck and their music has been used for fashion shows aired on the international TV channel IDFashion throughout the US, Ukraine, Italy, Austria and France.

Now, as you may recall “Savannah Only Temple” was a slickly produced indie rock and post-punk track that to my ears reminded me quite a bit of Narrow Stairs-era Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service’s Give Up and Snow Patrol, complete with a rousing arena rock-friendly hook. And while clearly nodding at 00s indie rock and post punk, as well as retaining the arena friendly sound of their preceding single, the track finds the band expanding upon the sound that first won them attention on this site and elsewhere, as the song finds the band nodding at electronic rock; but perhaps most important, is that the new single reveals some ambitious songwriting as they pair anthemic hooks around a twisting and turning song structure.